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AnimEigo licenses Gunsmith Cats [Kickstarter]

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  • WTK

    Amarays, Assemble!

    DiscMakers, our disc replicator, was kind enough to send us a video of the Gunsmith Cats sets being put together. The wheels are literally turning!

    More progress reports soon,

    Robert & Natsumi

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  • WTK

    Shipping in a few weeks!

    Dear backers,

    Just dashing off a quick update before we get hit by Dorian. Based on previous experience with similar storms, the most likely impact to us in Wilmington will be power and internet outages, but we've stocked up on supplies and are well prepared.

    Since the last update, a lot has happened. First of all, the final group of goodies - the coins, keychains and pins - have arrived!

    This has allowed us to complete the process of creating "prepacks" containing various combinations of goodies, which will greatly speed up the package assembly process when we start shipping.

    All told, there were over 100 unique combinations of goodies ordered - and this will no doubt increase as people make last minute changes to their orders (which you can do any time before we actually start shipping).

    This process saves time, but it is not without it's costs…

    If packing up the orders and sending them off is "The Hell of Perpetual Shipping", then prepack preparation was "The Death of 1000 Papercuts".

    We also made sure we had all the packaging materials we will need, including several cubic meters of bubble wrap and custom boxes for the premium set.

    In other news, the discs have been replicated, and the artbooks have been printed (in Canada) and were shipped last week to our replicator in New Jersey. Or at least, that's what we thought -- when we checked the tracking information, we found that the books -- literally, a ton of books -- were actually being shipped to the BookMobile offices in Minnesota.

    We managed to have the truck redirected to the proper destination, and have even received video of the driver's response.

    Final Checks & Last Orders
    Shortly after posting this update we will start sending out final account status emails from our preorder database. Please check that everything is OK, in particular that your address is correct and that you've selected the correct goodies. In particular, if you see any deliverable items that simply say "Goodie" with description "Bonus Goodie", that means your reward came with goodies but you haven't told us which ones you wanted yet!

    If you want to add to your order, or upgrade from Basic to Premium, you can still do so on our website at https://animeigo.com/gsc. If you need to make other changes, like address changes, or swapping one goodie for another, you should just reply to the account status email or email us at [email protected]. The deadline for changes will be when we actually start shipping.


    As you know, we do our UK/EU fulfillment using a company in the UK. They have done a really good job on previous projects and we want to continue using them if at all possible. At the present time, we are operating on the assumption that Brexit will happen on schedule. Therefore, we intend to pack up the EU and UK orders first, and send them to the UK via air express in order to provide sufficient time for them to send out the EU packages before the UK becomes a post-apocalyptic hellscape.

    We'll obviously update this plan should circumstances change, and worst case, we will use separate fulfillment for the EU.

    More details as they become available -- Robert & Natsumi

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  • WTK

    Checking In

    Just a quick update to let you know that the production check discs have arrived! We've tested them in-house and they appear to be fine, so we've sent them off to the Perfectionist Patron backers for final paranoia checking. Unless one of them notices something horribly wrong, we'll be releasing them for replication in a few days!

    In addition, the dojinshi have been printed and are on a truck headed our way (all 300 kilos of them) and the final printers proofs of the small artbook will be arriving on Monday. So everything is coming together nicely.

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  • WTK

    August Update

    Greetings everyone.

    Just wanted to post a quick update about our progress. Basically, everything is in production and we are just waiting for components to arrive before we pack everything up and ship it out.
    • Large artbooks have all arrived, including the signed hardcovers.
    • Blu-rays are at the pressing plant, we expect check discs next week.
    • The small artbooks that come with the Premium set are at the printers, expected by the end of the month.
    • Same goes with the dojinshi that we added to the Premium set; if you want a sneak preview, here are links to the cover and final contents.
    • All the goodies have arrived except for the coin/keychain, which are expected any day.
    Our current plan is to pack up the UK/EU items first and expedite getting them to our fulfillment agent in the UK so as to avoid complications caused by the ongoing Brexit trainwreck. This is obviously a very fluid situation; worst-case we'll have to use a second fulfillment agent in the EU. We are almost certainly going to have to ship them out by air to save time.

    Expect more frequent updates as we enter the Hell of Perpetual Packing.

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  • WTK

    July Production Update

    July is here and things are starting to arrive at AnimEigo Worldwide Headquarters!

    The regular (premium set) artbooks are being printed in Canada, and the large artbooks are on a UPS truck at this very moment. The rest of the goodies should be arriving in the next few weeks.

    To speed up the eventual shipping process, we are making up pre-packs of all the various goodie combinations that have been ordered. As each new goodie arrives, it becomes possible to create more pre-packs. Gunsmith Cats will be our most logistically-challenging project so far, not only because of the number of backers but because of the number of different goodie permutations -- over 100 in all.

    We actually make up a few extra of each pre-pack, because we know that some of you are going to add or change your goodie selections. We did order a few extra of each one, so you can still order them on the website (https://animeigo.com/gsc).

    The Blu-ray master has been finalized, and will go off to the replicator this week. We should have check discs in a few weeks, which will be sent to the Perfectionist Patrons for final paranoia checking.

    Finally, Mr. Sonoda has delivered the 4-page Gunsmith Cats manga, the final piece of the preproduction puzzle! What follows is our first-draft of the english lettering.

    More updates soon -- Robert & Natsumi

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  • WTK
    Wednesday the 26th is the last day you can preorder the Gunsmith Cats Explosive Edition and still get your name on the on-disc list of backers. Ships mid-September. (link: https://www.animeigo.com/gsc) animeigo.com/gsc

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  • WTK

    Good news, everyone!

    We're pleased to announce that we've received approvals from the licensor and production of the Gunsmith Cats Explosive Edition has commenced!

    As mentioned in a previous update, the item with the longest lead-time is the artbook that forms part of the Premium set. We're also still waiting for the final manga pages from Mr. Sonoda which will be included in the Dojinshi, but that has a shorter production time so it isn't a blocker.

    Actual Blu-ray production is significantly faster than this, so what we're going to do is start the mastering / check / replication sequence on the Blu-ray in early July, with the expectation that it'll be finished in early August. By that time we should have received all of the various goodies, so we'll be able to start shipping sets to the Basic backers as soon as we get the actual discs, and get them finished before the final Premium sets arrive.

    This means that you have until June 26th (2 weeks) to check your "Name on Disc" and make sure you are listed properly. If you are one of the 100 or so Kickstarter backers who have not yet filled out the survey, please do so ASAP! I have taken the liberty of listing you using your Kickstarter account name or partial email address, but it would be nice to list you in exactly the way you'd prefer.

    Here is updated version of the Backers List video that you can use to check out how you appear (it is sorted by backer type and last name)

    ::: post :::

    I've also put all the names in a Vasty List of Backers googledoc, so you can search for yourself more easily.

    If you'd like your name on disc changed, or need to update your mailing address, either message us on Kickstarter or email directly to [email protected]

    Last Minute Orders, Upgrades and Addons

    If you know of someone who's interested in the set but hasn't ordered yet, please let them know that they need to order on or before June 26th in order to have their name listed on the disc.

    Similarly, if you want to upgrade, add goodies to your order, or change your goodie selection, the sooner you do so, the better. We are producing a few more of each goodie than we need to accommodate such changes, but there is a small chance we'll run out of one or more of them by the time we ship.

    The Gunsmith Cats page on our website has order buttons to handle most of the possibilities. If you'd like to swap goodies you've already ordered, please email us with your request.

    More news soon,

    Natsumi & Robert

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  • WTK

    Memorial Day Update

    Dear Backers,

    Unfortunately, not much has changed since our last update. We still have not received the final manga artwork from Mr. Sonoda, and we still need to get a few final approvals from the licensor before we can go into production.

    Both of these are taking longer than expected, however we expect that Mr. Sonoda will be able to deliver the manga pages in the near future as he has now reached an important milestone on his Bean Bandit project, which was consuming a great deal of his attention.

    In the meantime, we are doing what we always do when circumstances inflict extra time on us - continue to review and tweak things to improve the final product.

    In addition to our in-house checking, we recently sent test Blu-rays to some of our Perfectionist Patron backers, to get the benefit of some fresh sets of eyes. Often when you are working on a project for a long period of time, you see what you expect to see as opposed to what is actually there, so an outside perspective is always helpful.

    In this case, the Perfectionists found some minor issues with the disc and the subtitles, in particular tiny inconsistencies in formatting between subtitle tracks that we had missed. But the big "catch" was that one of them mentioned that the subtitle selection system we were using in the disc menus was awkward.

    It turns out that the subtitles on the disc present a unique user interface issue. Most of our audio tracks have a single subtitle track (effectively, the SDH track), but the Japanese audio has multiple formats (regular, SDH, and SDH captions) and the documentaries have a mix of both Japanese and English audio.

    Our original system for keeping track of the subtitle settings had two subtitle menus, one for the Japanese track and one for the "single-subtitle" tracks. But after reviewing the backer feedback, we decided to try something different.

    Now, instead of explicitly selecting subtitle tracks, the subtitle menu lets you select a set of preferences:

    ::: see post :::

    Then the disc uses those preferences to choose the subtitles that best match your preferences when it starts playing a track.

    One side-effect of this change is that we had to add two extra subtitle tracks to the documentaries, so you can now play them with just the japanese subtitled, just the english subtitled (!), or everything subtitled.

    Memorial Day Convention Appearances

    The Gunsmith Cats Explosive Edition will premiere at MomoCon this afternoon, presented by Becky Farrah herself, Tiffany Grant, and production team member Flandre Scarlet.

    I will be doing a panel tomorrow @ 2:30 at Animazement, along with team mentor Sasha McGlynn and crowdproduction team veteran Dustin Kopplin. You'll be able to see a sneak-peak of the disc, get the truth of what it's like to work on these projects, and Natsumi has put together a bag of stuff for me to give away.



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  • WTK

    April Schedule Update & News

    Hello everyone,

    Time for an update on project progress. We are pleased to announce that preproduction has been completed and we have submitted all of our materials to the licensor for final approvals with one exception - Mr. Sonoda has not yet sent us the final manga pages, so we can't finalize the dojinshi yet. We expect to get the pages sometime this month.

    Once we get the approvals, we will be able to go into production of the Blu rays, artbooks, packaging and goodies. The schedule then becomes largely dependent on the item that has the longest lead-time.

    This item, we were surprised to learn, turns out to be the "small" artbook. Unlike previous projects, where the artbooks were digitally printed, the print run on the small artbook is large enough that offset printing becomes the preferred method. However, we've been told that it will take 45+ days from when we place the order until delivery of the books, which is significantly longer than with digital printing.

    Everything else has shorter production times, so as soon as the books are delivered to our Blu ray manufacturer, everything can be assembled quickly and sent to us. So we estimate that we'll be shipping ~60 days from when we place the book order. This means we will start shipping mid- to late-June.

    The dojinshi won't cause a schedule problem as long as we get the pages by the end of this month, because it will be digitally printed. And we are going to use some of this extra time to do another round of Blu ray test discs.

    Name Checking

    We've updated the list of backers that will be included on the disc and insert as of Sunday afternoon. Here's the video. If you want to change how you appear, just email us at [email protected] - and if you haven't gotten around to filling out the Kickstarter survey, please do so (note: this only applies if you backed the project via Kickstarter).

    If you want to add to your order, you can do so at https://www.animeigo.com/gsc

    One new option we've added based on a backer request is the ability to include our previous Blu rays (Riding Bean, Otaku no Video, and the re-issued Bubblegum Crisis) with Gunsmith Cats preorders. By shipping them together with Gunsmith Cats, there's no additional shipping charge. This isn't a big deal for US backers because these items usually get free shipping on our website, but it may be very helpful to International backers.

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  • Art-chan
    It was DANG HARD to find my name in the poster!! I did (finally) find it! YAY!!!

    Leave a comment:

  • WTK

    Mar 23 2019

    Name Check

    Dear Backers,

    It's time to check how you're listed on the disc! Here is a work-in-progress video of the List of Backers that will be included on the blu-ray.


    The list consists of 5 sections; Prominent Patrons, Patrons, Premium Backers, Basic Backers and Other backers. Within each section, backers are listed alphabetically by last name. So you should just be able to spin through the video and double-check that you appear correctly.

    Some caveats:
    • The list is accurate as of Thursday night. If you are a Kickstarter backer and had not yet completed the survey, you probably won't appear unless there was some other way to deduce your name.
    • Unless you asked otherwise, you're listed using the name you provided or your shipping address name.

    I will update the video every week or so. If you want to request a change in how you are listed (within reason) just email us at [email protected]

    Also, all of the Backers get listed on the back side of the mini-poster we include with the blu-ray. Here's what that looks like:


    (Click for a high-resolution version so you can try and find yourself)

    Goodies Update

    We received samples of the coin/keychain and grenade pin. Here they are:

    ::: see post :::

    We're going to make some tweaks to the colors on the Rally side; her skin needs to be less "presidential," and the jacket color should be similar to the background of the May side.

    Natsumi is currently in Japan and will be meeting with Mr. Sonoda next week to get his final approval for the designs.

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  • WTK
    Ides of March Update

    Greetings everyone,

    Natsumi and I are back from our vacation. We are happy to report that we were not eaten by large prehistoric predators. We did encounter an alien, however...

    Since our return, we've been hard at work processing your Kickstarter surveys and dealing with all the addons and upgrades people have requested. Everyone should have gotten at least one status email from our order management system; if you didn't, let us know so we can figure out what's going on.

    Finding Your Survey

    We still have about 200 backers who haven't completed their surveys, and we've gotten some reports that the survey is hard to find. After a bit of back and forth, we've figured out there are two gotchas that are causing problems for some people:
    • You can't do the survey on the Kickstarter app. You have to visit the website directly.
    • You have to both log in on the website and visit the project page in order to get a banner that links to the survey.

    It will be really helpful for us if everyone gets their survey completed quickly as that will let us finalize the blu-ray disc assets.

    Addons and Upgrades

    You can order addons and upgrades to your pledge on our website; the order buttons are at the bottom of the Gunsmith Cats page.

    Changing Your "Name on Disc"

    We put the names of all the backers in a bonus feature on the disc itself. It defaults to your shipping name, but if you want to change it (to use a nickname, a handle, or even to not be listed), just email us at [email protected] and we'll tweak your data.

    Using up pledge overages

    If you pledged more than the cost of the reward you selected, the status email will show you have a credit. If you want to add rewards to use up this extra, then visit the Gunsmith cats page to get an idea of what you could add, then email us directly and let us know what you want. We'll be happy to adjust your pledge.

    Project Status updates


    We have finalized the design of the rubber straps and they are now in production. Here are some photos of the version 1 and final designs; the changes are small but we think it was worthwhile taking the time to tweak them.

    ::: see post :::


    We have reviewed all the feedback on the packaging, and Matt has decided that the best use of Mr. Sonoda's original art is to change the chipboard box cover.

    ::: see post :::

    With this revised design, the front is a front and the back is a back, and we also see the GT-500.

    However, fans of the original design should not be too disappointed, as the back cover artwork has been moved to the disc label.

    ::: see post :::

    (these images are works-in-progress that need a little cleanup)

    Artbook Production

    Sasha has been hard at work proofreading the artbooks. This is particularly important because unlike our previous artbooks, the premium box (aka "small") artbook is being printed using offset printing instead of digital printing, which imposes some extra limitations. So she's being super-paranoid about it...

    More info soon!


    Robert & Natsumi

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  • WTK

    Judging A Book By Its Cover

    Dear Backers,

    Over the weekend, we triggered the Kickstarter surveys. By now all Kickstarter backers should have gotten an alert to complete the survey. If you didn't, you can try logging out of Kickstarter and then back in again; several backers have reported that this magically made the survey appear.

    We've created a help page -- https://www.animeigo.com/gsc-survey -- to help with the survey process. It also has a FAQ that details how to add-on extra goodies to your pledge as well as order buttons. Non-kickstarter backers may also find it useful.

    Several people also requested a way to get extra sets of the stickers, so we added a 10-pack as a new goodie option.

    Natsumi and I are heading off today on a long-planned trip. When we get back, in about 2 weeks, we'll import the surveys and send out individual status emails. That will give you a chance to let us know about any mistakes, and in particular, confirm the spelling of your name for the listing on the Blu-ray.
    • We will be going beyond the borders of civilization (ie: no internet access) so we won't be able to reply to project-related questions as fast as we normally do.

    In the meantime, here are some project updates for you.

    Judging A Book By Its Cover

    Here are our initial designs for the regular and large artbooks, designed by the esteemed Sasha.

    ::: see post :::

    Chipboard Box Redesign

    Based on feedback in a previous update, we've come up with several alternative designs for the Premium set chipboard box.

    ::: see post :::

    Leave a comment:

  • WTK

    Feb 3 2019

    February Update

    Dear Backers, time for another project update.

    First, alas, we must start with a little bit of bad news. Mr. Sonoda has confirmed that he will not be able to finish the new Gunsmith Cats manga until mid-to-late March because he underestimated the amount of time required for his family business and the Riding Bean project.

    As mentioned in the previous update, we were concerned that this might happen, and made a series of adjustments in order to minimize the disruption this delay would cause. We are combining the manga with the dojinshi and printing them separate from the artbooks, so that we can have as much as possible locked by the time the manga is delivered.

    In addition, we're using the delay to continue to tweak and improve the set. If you have to wait a little longer to get Gunsmith Cats, you should get a better Gunsmith Cats.

    With that in mind, here's what we've been up to.

    ::: see post :::
    Work-in-progress menu

    Blu-ray Authoring

    We have completed our review of the first test disc. We found a few bugs and glitches which are being tweaked, but the biggest consequence of the review was that we've decided to redo the main menu. Our original design turned out to have some usability issues. The rough draft of the new design (above) will have a logo bar (not shown) on the right quarter of the screen, and the menu loop video (4:3) will be shifted over to the left. When you "pull the trigger" on a main option a bullet hole will appear with the suboptions.

    We are also using the extra time to continue to review the subtitles. While we have all agreed that it is appropriate to use the Chicago Manual of Style on this project, there is now heated debate about whether we should use the current edition or the one that was current for the time-period of the OVAs. : )


    The contents of the artbooks are locked other than the dedications and the covers. This will happen within the next couple of weeks. You can preview the current contents of the small artbook here. Let us know if you find any mistakes so we can both fix them and berate ourselves unmercifully.

    ::: see post :::
    Final design


    Based on consultations with the printer, we revised the design of the sticker sheet (and slightly enlarged it). We got the samples a couple of weeks ago and they look great!

    ::: see post :::

    In fact, we liked the results so much that we doubled the size of the order - and each set will now come with two sets of stickers, not just one!

    ::: see post :::
    Initial samples

    Rubber Straps

    We had samples straps made and they turned out fairly nicely, but we want to make some design improvements, in particular regarding the eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows. We may also slightly increase the size of the figures.

    The design rules for the straps are really interesting, and are driven by the mechanical limitations of the moldmaking. I ended up making a diagram that both explains the limitations and also why I am not a graphic artist.

    ::: see post :::
    Pining for the fjords?

    We should have another set of samples in a few weeks.

    ::: see post :::


    We had samples made of the coins, but have decided that the 3D embossed style doesn't work as well as we'd hoped. As with the straps, the main issue is with the eyes. We're doing a redesign that uses the painted "cel" style we used in the original Bubblegum Crisis coins.

    One of the things I really like about these projects is that they allow us to experiment with new ideas, but sometimes those ideas don't work. And worst case, if something doesn't work, at least it provides a little tidbit for the project updates.

    For Certain Values of "Fun"

    I think this tweet pretty much sums up what it's like to work on these projects.

    ::: see post :::

    If you see Sasha at a convention and want to make her shudder, just sneak up behind her and whisper "toolpaths" into her ear.

    Until next time, we remain your humble and obedient servants,

    Robert, Natsumi, and the rest of the production team.

    Leave a comment:

  • WTK

    December Update

    Happy Non-denominational Gift-getting Season to you all!

    We're overdue for a project progress update (sorry about that!), and there's a fair amount to report!

    Blu-Ray Authoring

    All materials have been assembled and authoring is underway. We expect to get a first test disc in early January. A few elements, such as the backer's list, are placeholders that will get updated just before replication, and of course we'll be obsessively proofreading right up until the last moment, but for all intents and purposes the hard work has been done. As is usual on these projects, we expect to go through a couple of rounds of test discs.

    New Materials

    All new artwork has been received, with one exception -- the new original manga. As most of you know, Mr. Sonoda is being stretched thin these days; he has to juggle working on this project, manage his family candy store, and work on his new Bean Bandit project. This means we're having to wait a bit longer than we expected for the manga.

    We've discussed this internally and come up with what we think is an interesting way to minimize project schedule risk due to these circumstances. Originally, we were planning to include the new dojinshi and the manga in the small “amaray sized” artbook that fits into the box set. However, we realized that if we print the dojinshi + manga as a separate B5-sized book, we can finalize and proof the artbooks and the packaging now (since the box depends on the size of the artbook). Then as soon as we get the manga art, we can finish the dojinshi+manga booklet much more quickly.

    This is a little more expensive for printing and also shipping (larger boxes), but we think it is a prudent thing to do, and it adds value to the release. And as a side effect, we'll be able to offer extra copies of the booklet as an additional goodie!

    This cunning plan is not yet set in stone, so if you have comments and suggestions, please let us know!

    Currently the small artbook contains 180 pages, and the 8.5x11" large artbook variant has 54. If you want to take a sneak peek at the contents of the small artbook, you can see it here...

    Goodie Goodness

    The design of all the goodies are pretty much locked, and we are in the process of getting production samples made for approval. We expect that to be done early in January, at which point we'll run the backer surveys. We've waited on this because as part of the survey you'll be able to make your goodie selections (if you've chosen goodies as part of your reward).

    Here's what we've come up with.

    Stuck On You

    First up isn't actually a goodie, it's the sticker sheet that will be included with every Blu-ray.

    The stickers will be printed on a transparent backing suitable for use on phones and laptops. To give you an idea of the scale, Rally will be about 4" tall.

    Silver Medals

    The coin/keychain will be 1.75" in diameter and the two sides look like this:

    The base color will be antique silver, and the figures will be sculpted 3D embossing.

    Patchwork Girls

    We've already produced a set of test patches; everyone who worked on the project will get a pair of these. The final production patches will be identical except that we'll tweak the text color so eagle-eyed fans can tell them apart.

    A Dynamite Pin

    The pin design hasn't changed since we first showed it in an earlier update.

    Rubber Goods

    One big change we've made is with the rubber straps. We showed the first design in an earlier update, but after getting a sample made, we realized that we needed to revise the design to fit the constraints of the manufacturing process; in particular, the details were too small. Based on guidance from Mr. Sonoda, Sasha reworked things extensively to make them more "deformed".

    The Rally strap will be ~70mm high (a little less than 3"). One thing that is a bit misleading about these mockups is that in the final figures, Rally's dark hair should contrast with the dark grey background much more that you might expect because of the 2-layer nature of the straps. And if we don't like the results, we can always adjust the color of the dark background base layer until we find something that works.

    Well, that's all for this report. As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions.

    -- Robert & Natsumi

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